Flawed UN Security Council resolution creates new obstacles to peace process

Brussels, December 26th, 2016 – Only one week after an ECI delegation had returned from the United Nations in New York and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had acknowledged that the UN is biased against Israel, the UN Security Council issued a resolution calling upon Israel to halt all settlement activities in the disputed territories in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

According to renowned Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, the resolution even puts into question the legality of Jewish prayer at the Western Wall.

The resolution was presented only hours before the Christmas and Hanukkah festivities were to begin in Jerusalem, after a similar resolution by Egypt had been dropped the previous day.
Following months of speculations that outgoing president Barack Obama may want to punish Israel before he leaves office, the rumours were proven right on Friday when the US abstained from using its veto against the resolution; hence the resolution was passed by 14 votes to none.  The resolution had been introduced to the UN Security Council by New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal.

In a statement on 24th December, Christmas Eve, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandellcalled the resolution an act of diplomatic war, giving more fuel to the international campaign of hatred and violence against Israel.

"Through his actions President Obama may have given the two-state solution a final blow by further alienating the two parties from each other. At a time when close to half a million civilians have died in the civil war in Syria under the watch of Ban Ki-moon and President Obama, the UN Security Council chooses to punish the only stable democracy in the region," he said.
The resolution was passed on the very day when Jews all over the world were preparing to celebrate Hanukkah and billions of Christians were to read the Bible verse describing how a young Jewish mother by the name of Miriam (Mary) was giving birth to Jesus. The scripture explains clearly how Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the town of David, whilst Christian nations in the UN Security Council were calling the city “occupied Palestinian territory.”
"This is a stab in the back on Israel, which exposes the true intentions of the outgoing American president, when he is no longer restrained from moderate forces in his party."

"However, the universal message of our two holidays could not be clearer. Light will prevail over darkness. There has been many Obamas throughout history but Israel will live on," Sandell concludes.



UNESCO adopts new resolution ignoring Jewish link to Temple Mount – EU member states fail to object

Brussels, October 26th, 2016 – UNESCO, the UN agency for education, culture and science, has voted for the third time in less than two weeks to deny any Jewish and Christian links to the Temple Mount, which is the most holy site in Judaism. The vote of the 21 member strong UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) *) comes only one week after the executive board of the same UN organisation had approved a similar resolution, which caused an international outcry in the Jewish world and even made UNESCO’s own Director-General, Irina Bokova and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially distance themselves from the resolution. Nevertheless, when the so-called 40COM 7A.13 resolution was presented to the World Heritage Committee on Wednesday morning, only two members out of twenty-one voted against the resolution which was conducted in a secret ballot. Jamaica was absent and did not vote. According to media reports on Wednesday the four EU member countries in the committee (Croatia, Finland, Poland and Portugal) had earlier indicated that they would abstain.

“Denying an entire people their undisputable historical link with the most holy site in their religion will only strengthen those radical forces that see no place whatsoever for Jews in Israel. As of today, they can base their claims on a UNESCO resolution which denies that there have ever been any Jews in Jerusalem, hence there can be no future for them there either. This is simply diplomatic ethnic cleansing by denying a people their own history and identity and it cannot be tolerated”, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said in a statement after the vote on Wednesday.

ECI has been raising awareness of the upcoming vote since the month of July when the issue was first presented to the WHC at its annual meeting in Istanbul. The vote had to be postponed to October due to the failed Turkish military coup.

“This is a major disappointment for anyone who would like to put their trust in the UN system”, Sandell said. “How can anyone take a UN resolution seriously anymore, after this clear twisting of historical facts for political motives?” However, Sandell did not put all the blame on the Director-General Irina Bokova, but on those WHC member states who either voted for the resolution (10) or who accepted the results by abstaining (8).

“This is a clear wake up call for any true friend of Israel from around the world. Unless we hold those governments who accepted this resolution accountable, we will have accepted the claim of those who try to erase the Jewish people from our history”, Sandell warned. “To quote George Orwell: ‘Those who control the past control the future’.”

Furthermore, the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer remind us of our civic responsibility on such a tragic day: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

*) Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Tanzania, Vietnam, Zimbabwe



ECI joins UN Secretary-General in rejecting UNESCO vote
- Resolution is flawed and undermines confidence in UN system

New York, October 17th, 2106 - In a private meeting in the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York on Friday, the European Coalition for Israel condemned a recent UNESCO resolution which denies any Jewish connections to the holy sites in Jerusalem.                                              

During the meeting Chief of Cabinet,Edmond Mulet (picture), affirmed that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was deeply disappointed by the UNESCO resolution which was adopted on Thursday. On Sunday Ban Ki-moon issued a public statement saying that “the Temple Mount is also a Jewish and a Christian holy site and any perceived undertaking to repudiate the undeniable common reference for these sites does not serve the interests of peace and will only feed violence and radicalism” and called on all sides “to uphold the status quo in relation to the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem”.

The resolution has caused a major uproar in the Jewish community around the world and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova has also publicly distanced herself from the resolution, clarifying that this is not a resolution supported by her as Director-General but by some member states.

ECI first warned about the danger of hijacking the UN agency for education, science and culture when the Palestinian Authority was accepted as a full member in 2011, despite failing to fulfil the criteria for membership. The Palestinian Authority has since misused the organisation for its own political objectives by embarking on a political vendetta against the State of Israel. Already in April the Executive Committee issued a resolution denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A few months later, in July, the same issue came up in a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, but was postponed because of the attempted military coup in Turkey. A new vote is expected in Paris on October 26th.

“Politicized resolutions which deny historical facts, such as the 3000 years old connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people, risk undermining the confidence in the international system,” warned ECI Founding Director, Tomas Sandell in New York on Friday. “If historical facts can be altered in order to achieve dubious political objectives, we may soon have a resolution denying any Christian connection to the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. If we follow this logic, the next step is to also deny any link between Islam and Mecca.”

“However, instead of putting all the blame on an international institution which was set up to foster cultural dialogue and cooperation, we need to make those 24 UN member states that voted in favour of the resolution and those 26 UN member states that abstained accountable for their actions”, he added.

Only six UN member states rejected the resolution. *)

“UNESCO should not be a platform for historical revisionism but for dialogue and cooperation”, Sandell concluded.

“This inflammatory UNESCO resolution overshadows the positive steps that the United Nations has taken this year in recognizing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which was celebrated last week”, ECI's UN Director Gregory Lafitte commented.

“The good news is that the United Nations Secretariat is now beginning to officially recognise and respect the Jewish culture and its contributions to mankind. It is most unfortunate that a flawed resolution from the Executive Committee of UNESCO, which only has the support of 24 members, gets all the media attention. While we should not deny the negative consequences of the UNESCO resolution we should not let it take away from the fact that Israel is being increasingly recognized for its positive contributions in the UN”, he said.

ECI has campaigned for UN recognition of the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur since 2013 and was invited to the office of the Secretary-General on Friday, October 14th, only two days after the UN, for the first time in its history, had recognized Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

“Our invitation to the highest office of the United Nations is also a recognition of the work of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, which was set up by ECI in 2013 to promote better inclusion of Jewish culture at the UN,” Lafitte concluded.

The issue regarding UNESCO vote is discussed more thoroughly in the October European Report (view here).

*) Voting result of UNESCO’s executive board on October 13th, 2016:

In favour: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam.

Against: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.

Abstaining: Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and Nevis, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Ukraine.

Serbia and Turkmenistan were absent.



ECI makes appeal for stronger transatlantic partnership for Israel

Washington D.C., October 12th, 2016- European Coalition for Israel (ECI) has made an appeal for a stronger transatlantic partnership in support for Israel ahead of its launch of a new sister organisation, American Friends of ECI, on Thursday night in Washington D.C.

"Europe is today ground zero when it comes to fighting growing anti-Semitism. But it does not stop here. The current assault on the Jewish people and the State of Israel is a global phenomenon,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said in a press statement on Tuesday. He mentioned the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in particular as a new form of anti-Semitism. The BDS movement has been condemned by a number of national parliaments, including Great Britain, and according to the High Court in France, its activities are in clear violation of international trade laws.

Sandell is not alone in expressing concern over the situation of the Jewish communities in Europe and the current demonisation of the State of Israel. According to the European Union, the Jewish population in Europe has declined from about 2 million in 1991 to 1.4 million in 2010. Last year, more than ten thousand Jews left Europe and immigrated to Israel.

Two weeks ago, the European Parliament organised a special conference in Brussels about the future of the Jewish communities in Europe, where several speakers warned about a new exodus from Europe following the growing violence against Jews on the continent.

In the conference, former British Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks accused the European leaders of failing to understand how anti-Semitism mutates over time and takes different forms in different ages. He said, “In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, the State of Israel. It takes different forms but it remains the same thing: the view that Jews have no right to exist as free and equal human beings.”

"This form of anti-Semitism is not limited to Europe," Sandell warns, "but is also spreading in the United States and other parts of the world. It is often hidden under the cover of 'human rights campaigning'. But whilst Israel is today the only country in the Middle East which fully respects fundamental rights and freedoms by law, it is paradoxically the only country to be singled out for boycotts by Western campaigners, including some Christian denominations."

"Christians should know better. When campaigners shout 'kauf nicht bei Juden', (do not buy from Jews) trouble is around the corner," Sandell warns.

But standing in support for Israel does not prevent ECI from also expressing legitimate concerns for the Palestinian people. In the past, the organisation has held Palestinian human rights events at local universities in Europe, where they have raised awareness of the problems which Palestinians are facing today, not only from the Israeli authorities, but also from their own political leaders.

"Whilst Europe may not be considered Israel´s best friend, we have a historic obligation to speak out and to do so in time, when we see Jews being targeted for boycotts and hunted down by terrorists in Europe. But in a global world we need to stand together with all those who value freedom, compassion and humanity, hence the need for an American sister organisation," Tomas Sandell explained.

The new organisation is headquartered in Washington D.C., but has its main focus on the United Nations in New York. It will offer partnerships for fighting anti-Semitism in Europe and the US, as well as a platform for diplomatic activities at the European Union in Brussels and the United Nations in New York and Geneva.


ECI mourns the passing of Shimon Peres

ECI mourns the passing of Shimon Peres
European Parliament pays tribute with one minute of silence

Brussels, September 29th, 2016 – The European Coalition for Israel joins the worldwide Jewish community in mourning the death of Israeli leader Shimon Peres who passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning, two weeks after suffering a stroke. Shimon Peres was 93 years old. In a statement in Brussels on Wednesday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell expressed the sentiments of many Christians throughout the world in saying:

”Israel has lost one of its founding fathers, a pillar of the Jewish state and a visionary leader. Shimon Peres was an Israeli statesman, twice Prime Minister and the country's ninth President. He was admired all over the world because of his sincere quest for peace, which in 1994 won him the Nobel Peace prize. He was a fighter who never gave up. The visionary is gone, but the modern democratic state of Israel that he once could only dream of, but later was part of creating, lives on.”

On Wednesday Vice President Antonio Tajani called for one minute of silence in the European Parliament in remembrance of the deceased Israeli President. The state funeral will take place in Jerusalem on Friday with more than a dozen world leaders in attendance.



ECI attends United Nations General Assembly in New York for the sixth consecutive year
– Israel is now in a stronger position at the UN after the official recognition of Yom Kippur as a UN holiday

New York, September 19th, 2016 – The European Coalition for Israel will join world leaders from 193 nations in attending the high level segment of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, which begins in New York today on Monday, September 19th, with a high-level plenary meeting to address the large movements of refugees and migrants.

ECI has attended every opening session of the UN General Assembly since 2011 when a petition against a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood was submitted to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by a delegation from ECI, urging the international community to keep Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. The petition was presented with a file of over 60,000 hand-written signatures.

ECI was also present in the chamber of the UN General Assembly the following year on November 29th, 2012, when the nations voted overwhelmingly to accord Non-Member Observer State status to Palestine.

In April 2014, ECI founded the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy (FCD) as an arm of its work at the United Nations. Over the last few years FCD has met with some 80 permanent missions to the UN to campaign for UN recognition of the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur as an official UN holiday. This year will mark the first time since the creation of the UN in 1945 when a Jewish holiday is duly recognized as an official UN holiday and is no longer a working day. This now makes it possible for Israeli delegates to participate fully in the high level meetings.

Since 2012, ECI and FCD have hosted many high level diplomatic events at the UN headquarters in New York to mark the Jewish holidays and to explain their universal message to the international community. Among the Jewish holidays that have already been celebrated are Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashana and Pesach (Passover). Last year ECI marked the opening week of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in celebrating the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, by observing the Jewish ceremony of Taschlich. The event was organized and took place in the Rose Garden of the UN, with the active participation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Later, in a written communication to ECI, Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the work of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy as “very important”.

The visit this year by Founding Director Tomas Sandell and UN Director Gregory Lafittecomes only ten days after the international board of ECI met with the Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where he acknowledged the importance of the work of ECI in helping to achieve UN recognition of Yom Kippur. Later this week ECI has been invited to a high level meeting on Israeli technology and innovations hosted by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During the week ECI will also be attending a meeting of the current EU-Presidency which is held by Slovakia whose President Andrej Kiska is hosting a reception on Tuesday night. In bilateral meetings with Heads of State or Government and UN diplomats, ECI will take the opportunity to thank all the nations who have supported the recognition of Yom Kippur.

“The UN is today a better place for the Jewish people because of these reforms”, said ECI Director for UN Affairs, Gregory Lafitte. Earlier this year Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Danny Danon, was appointed as chairman of the UN Sixth Committee (Legal), and he is the first Israeli ever to lead a major UN committee.

ECI was founded in 2003 to be a Christian voice in support of Israel at the European Union in Brussels. Already in 2011 it was clear that Israel needed a similar voice of support at the United Nations in New York.
“Israel is only one nation among 193 in the United Nations and until 2000 it was not even a member of any of the regional groups. We could not leave Israel to stand alone. We are fully committed to standing for Israel both at the European Union in Brussels and at the United Nations in New York where in the past Israel has so often been isolated. It is not in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, but in the international capitals of Brussels and New York that Israel needs more friends”, said ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell in conclusion as he was explaining the reason for ECI to keep coming back each year to the UN.

The General Debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly will conclude on Monday September 26th.



Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomes European Coalition for Israel in Jerusalem  -  there is no better line of defence for Europe against terrorism than the State of Israel

Jerusalem, September 15th, 2016 - The international board of the European Coalition for Israel has had a unique opportunity to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with a delegation of senior Israeli government officials during the week of the ECI annual board meeting in Jerusalem. The meeting took place in the official cabinet room of the government of Israel where the Prime Minister officially welcomed ECI to Jerusalem and thanked the group on behalf of the State of Israel for all the important work which ECI is doing in Europe and around the world. Referring to the evangelical community in Europe and around the world he said: “You are our best friends”.

But he was clearly disappointed with the European Union. “The world has changed in a dramatic way in the last few years, but the only ones who do not seem to understand these changes are the EU-leaders”, he said. This was a strong message for the European Union in Brussels which in recent years has adopted a number of measures aimed at isolating Israel, especially with regard to the disputed territories.

“Israel is Europe’s best line of defence against terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Without the State of Israel, the western area of the Middle East would collapse,” he continued. “The Arab world understands this but Europe ignores it.” The Prime Minister acknowledged that there are many friendly governments in Europe who are very supportive of Israel in bilateral meetings, but once they meet in closed meetings in the European Council in Brussels their conclusions automatically seem to be unanimously against Israel.

“But Israel is not alone”, the Prime Minister assured ECI. “From Africa and Latin America to Asia, a growing number of nations are looking to Israel for solutions and cooperation and want to benefit from the many technological innovations from Israel, as well as looking for ways to invest in the dynamic Israeli economy.”

“Practically every day the Prime Minister receives governmental delegations from all corners of the world,” National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel explained. Prior to meeting the ECI board members the Prime Minister had met with the Foreign Minister of Australia,Julie Bishop, and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, as well as with the opposition leader Anna Kinberg Batra from Sweden. During his state visit to the Netherlands last week he made a personal phone call to Roger van Oordt from Christians for Israel to thank the group for their support. Christians for Israel, based in the Netherlands, is one of the founding members of the European Coalition for Israel.

In the meeting with ECI, the Prime Minister explained the importance of support for Israel by Christians. He went on to thank ECI for all its work in the European Union in Brussels, and also at the United Nations in New York where the ECI Forum for Cultural Diplomacy and the Israeli Permanent Representation to the UN worked together to promote the request for the recognition of a Jewish holiday in the UN. As the 71st session of the UN General Assembly opened on September 13th,  it was the first time since the creation of the UN in 1945 that Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, has been recognised as an official UN holiday and is no longer a working day.

“This recognition has not only benefitted the State of Israel but also some 100 other member states whose religious holidays will now be recognised by the UN, thanks to the initiative to ask for UN recognition of a Jewish holiday," ECI Director for UN affairs,Gregory Lafitte, pointed out.

In his brief statement to the Prime Minister, Founding Director Tomas Sandell gave a short history of ECI saying that it was founded in 2003 as "a coalition of all the others." This expression comes from a speech made by the late Elie Wiesel, who at an EU crisis summit in 2004, observed that he felt that it was only the Jews in Europe who seemed to be reacting to the rise of anti-Semitism. "Where are all the others?”, he asked.

“There may be a small but vocal minority in Europe which has a problem, not only with the policies of the Israeli government but also with the mere existence of Israel, but we believe we represent a silent majority which shares the values and principles of the Jewish State”, Sandell said. “Our goal is to make this silent majority a vocal majority. Our message to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is that Europe needs more of Israel, not less, and that Israel is not the problem but the solution to many of our problems in Europe and the Middle East. We do not simply want to "tolerate" the Jewish people but we want to “celebrate” Israel and the Jewish people who have contributed so much to our European culture and society.”

“We will never forget that it was your people, the Jewish people, who gave us our Holy Scriptures and this is something for which we will be forever grateful”, Sandell concluded. The Prime Minister acknowledged his great appreciation for the Bible. At a cabinet meeting the previous week, in connection with the beginning of the new school year, he had encouraged the students to study the Bible, in order to learn why the Jewish people have returned to Israel.

Joining the Prime Minister at the meeting was National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel, Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister's Office Michael Oren, Deputy Head of Foreign Affairs at the National Security Council Orma Mizrahi, Foreign Policy Adviser Jonathan Schachter, and Foreign Media Adviser David Keyes.

The ECI delegation comprised newly elected ECI Chairman Tor G Gull, outgoing Chairman Rudolf Geigy, his wife Elizabeth Geigy, Founding Director Tomas Sandell, UN Director Gregory Lafitte and board members Bedros NassanianHarald EckertAntti Hämäläinen and Rick Ridings.



From vision to reality in fifteen years!

As I started to write this monthly report on my flight back to Helsinki after spending a whole week in Brussels, I realised that we have just entered the month of September.

The first of September marks fifteen years since the ECI vision was first presented in a written form, to be embraced only two days later by an anonymous donor. While this vision was being confirmed in Helsinki, Finland, fifteen years ago in 2001, another chain of events was unfolding in Durban, South Africa, where the United Nations was organising a large world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The NGO conference that was running parallel to the UN conference described Israel as a racist state and is now considered by many as the launch platform for the “new anti-Semitism” of today. It was at this conference, where so called anti-racists and human rights activists were shouting “death to Israel”, that the strategy to boycott Israel was first presented to an international forum. Only three days after the conference ended on September 11, terror struck in New York and Washington DC, and the world has never been the same since then.

In the midst of all this turmoil we believe the Lord was raising up ECI “for such a time as this” to help Christians stand up against this new resurgence of anti-Semitism. By remembering the ”birth of ECI” in this way, it gives us the opportunity to thank all those who have stood by us faithfully during all these last fifteen years, in prayer, friendship and financial support. As we mark fifteen years since the birth of the vision (ECI was officially launched as an organisation in March 2003) we are entering another volatile season which reminds us of Germany in the 1930´s. This was a time when the hordes of anti-Semites started to expel the Jewish people from Europe by planning boycotts of their businesses and declaring Jews to be second-class citizens. Also today Jewish life is under threat in Europe by the rise of anti-Semitism and potentially by new laws to ban religious circumcision and kosher slaughter which would make Jewish life impossible in Europe. In addition to this, Jewish products from Israel are again targets for boycotting.

But this time the friends of Israel are no longer passive. In this monthly update we are presenting some new developments that will make ECI stronger and even more effective in the future as we invite you to stand with us in prayer and financial support during the next fifteen years!

Singaporean Christians express interest in an Asian Coalition for Israel

Singapore – In mid August ECI Vice-ChairmanTor G Gull and Founding Director Tomas Sandell visited Singapore on a follow up mission after a fruitful ministry trip in the month of May. Just two weeks earlier, during a layover in Singapore on his way to Australia, our Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker had an opportunity to present ECI´s legal work at a gathering of lawyers and Christian lay leaders who had expressed a great interest to become involved in the area of international law.

Singapore is a testimony to an exceptional transformation of a third world country into a leading economy in only one generation. Part of the reason for this remarkable achievement is the close cooperation of Singapore with the state of Israel since its formation in 1965. Today Israel and Singapore are two of the most dynamic economies in the world and Christians in Singapore firmly support the state of Israel along with cultural transformation of their own country.

To learn more about the secret behind this remarkable transformation both Gull and Sandell spent a week attending a “Making disciples of all nations” school, organised by the Full Gospel Business (FGB) Gatekeepers Singapore. While the course was spiritually enriching, it also helped us to create new links to other parts of Asia and solidify the emerging relationships in Singapore.

As a result of the trip, a delegation of seasoned market place leaders and Christian pastors expressed a genuine interest to start up an Asian Coalition for Israel, in close cooperation with the European Coalition for Israel. Having developed an organisational template which has been proven successful in Europe and at the United Nations, groups in other continents are now interested in following the ECI model.

While there is no desire for us in ECI to create a new global super-structure, it does make sense to share our experience and resources with other like-minded groups in the world. In the past ECI has refrained from entering into working relationships with groups in other continents, but given the organic developments over the last two years with leaders in Singapore, the prospect of a fruitful working relationship now seems ripe.

Breaking news – American Friends of ECI receive tax exempt status

Washington DC – As ECI is expanding its influence in Asia, the American Friends of ECI has just received its 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status in the USA. The work in the US capital will now enter a new dimension as a growing network of regional coalitions emerges. The work in Washington DC is headed up by our former Brussels representative Faith Collins-Childress. The official launch of AFECI will take place in Washington DC on October 13.

ECI returns to Brussels with summer aftershock but clear priorities for autumn

Brussels – Members of the European Parliament returned to Brussels in the last week of August after a dramatic summer with the surprise result of the Brexit vote and a new wave of terrorist attacks. On Wednesday, August 31, ECI recorded its first European Report for the autumn (WATCH HERE) to discuss what Europe can learn from Israel to protect its citizens from further terror. Dutch MEP Bas Belder expressed his outrage that the EU still refuses to acknowledge the critical role of radical Islam behind each of the recent attacks. The political leadership along with the media portray a picture of disenfranchised young immigrants who suffer from mental problems, and fail to recognise an underlying culture in Europe which is embedded with anti-Semitism and radical Islam.

Meanwhile, ECI continues its dialogue with the European External Action Service (EEAS - the EU foreign department) concerning the issue of on-going EU financing of Palestinian terrorism in Israel which was presented to the EEAS during an official visit during the month of April. In response to a follow up request, the Director of the Middle East Section writes that: “EU assistance provided to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is subject to strict and continuous monitoring that ensures, inter alia, that European funds are used only for the agreed purposes and are scrupulously audited.” This statement, however, is in clear contrast with the findings of the European Court of Auditors and the European Parliament Budgetary Control Committee which on numerous occasions have raised complaints against the EU for lack of control and oversight. Furthermore, in the most recent update from the Middle East Quartet, the problem of Palestinian incitement to violence is highlighted as a clear obstacle to peace. However, the responsible officials in Brussels continue to refuse to acknowledge any wrong doing.

Apart from the issue of Palestinian incitement to violence, ECI is focusing on the continuing battle concerning Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. ECI is in regular contact with the office of the President of the European Parliament who has expressed his clear criticism of any attempt to boycott or discriminate against Israel. But many EU officials report growing pressure on the European Commission from groups in some member states to apply new boycotts to convince Israel to give in to European demands. Among these groups are many so-called Christian Development NGO’s which, by twisting the language of human rights, religion and international law, seek to label Israel as an international pariah. Last month it was revealed that World Vision, an international Christian charity with a budget of several billions, had secretly been channelling funds to the terrorist organisation Hamas.
ECI will continue to monitor – and if necessary name and shame - these Christians groups which continuously oppose, revile and demonize the Jewish state.

Shalom Festival invades Edinburgh Festival Fringe with message of peace

Edinburgh, Scotland – As well as having an impact at a governmental level through diplomatic activities, it is absolutely essential that friends of Israel are also active in reclaiming  the streets of Europe in support for Israel just as the BDS movement is trying to push Israel, its arts, culture and products out of Europe.

This is exactly what happened in August at the largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, when Scottish pro-Israel organisations, supported by ECI, organised an International Shalom Festival presenting Israeli arts, music and culture in an attempt to build bridges for peace between Scotland and Israel.

The original Shalom Festival in Belgium was an initiative started by, among others, the Belgian Coalition for Israel and our Brussels representative Ruth Isaac and her sisterEugenia Daskapoulous-Tarzilou from Koinonia ministries in Antwerp. Together with Jewish organisations, they have hosted several cultural events in Antwerp and Brussels over the years with a message of peace and co-existence in the Middle East - hence the name: “Shalom (peace) Festival”.

Inspired by the Belgian experience, Scottish Israel activist Nigel Goodrich has now introduced this concept at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where Israeli artists have been boycotted in the past. This year Israel was given great visibility through the Shalom Festival which showcased a different Israel than the one presented by the BDS movement. As friends of Israel were celebrating Israeli culture inside the venue, anti-Israel demonstrators were loudly protesting - but outside.

Kudos to our friend and partner in the UK, Nigel Goodrich, who made all this possible.

ECI Young Adults reach younger generation in their countries

Helsinki, Finland – The future of EU-Israeli relations is in the hands of the younger generation. In the pre-study in 2001, which later led to the creation of the European Coalition for Israel, we noted that Biblical supporters of Israel tended to be people who have had first hand experience of the miracle of the birth of the Jewish state in 1948, the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 and the miraculous survival of Israel in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Those who grow up in this day and age have a completely different experience of the State of Israel which through biased media reporting is portrayed as an “occupying power” and a “human rights violator”. Although nothing could be further from the truth, this explains why this new generation needs to be presented with clear facts and the truth about Israel and the conflict in the Middle East.

The ECI Young Adults group (see article from last month) takes this message to the younger generation. It is critical that we reach young people while they are still studying and are at a formative age. In the Netherlands one of our young leaders has started a small project at her college, which we hope can become a pilot study in how to bring our message into the college campuses in Europe.

Another one of our young leaders, Ina Litma, will this autumn be involved in a project supported by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and the Youth section of the Christian Democratic party in Finland to counter the lies of the BDS movement by presenting the facts about Israel through a tour in different key cities in Finland. This is a good example of a pro-active approach in the current information war where small but vocal and well-funded anti-Israel groups are reaching out to students and young people with a message of hate. It is time that those who care for Israel and peace in the Middle East are given a more visible profile. Thank you ECI Young Adults for making a difference!

As we close this month´s report we want to again thank all supporters of ECI, both young and old. If you would like to support the work of ECI financially you will find more information here.

Upcoming events

London 5th November 2016
First National ECI Conference in London.

Speakers: Tomas Sandell, Jacques Gauthier, Ruth Isaac, and more.
Location and full programme to be announced shortly.



The month of July is a holiday period for most of Northern Europe and in mid July also the European institutions close down in Brussels. Still, the summer period is no holiday for the enemies of Israel and Europe. As this report will show, also during the holiday season Israel and our own continent are threatened by terrorist attacks. In addition to this Israel faces a new campaign of lawfare in the international diplomatic arena. Please would you stand with us as we stand with Israel during this summer.


Islamic summer of terror hits Europe

Brussels - As we compile this new Monthly report we have just witnessed an unprecedented period of Islamic terror in the heartland of Europe. This is not the right place for describing in detail the barbaric terror attacks in Nice, Würzburg, Munich, Reutlingen, Istanbul or Saint-Etienne du-Rouvray. Increasingly, Europe is waking up to the grim reality of the Middle East, where Islamic terror, either in the form of suppressive authoritarian regimes or by barbaric terrorist groups like the Islamic State, is part of everyday life.

ECI has for many years been warning of the consequences of turning a blind eye to terror attacks in Israel by trying to justify these as a reaction to occupation. These explanations are now becoming obsolete as we face the same terror here in the heart of Europe. If we were to follow the logic of the reactions of the EU in the past, we would now simply have to sit down and negotiate with the terrorists, perhaps giving up some territories which at some point in time were part of the Islamic caliphate or simply submitting to the sword of Islam. This is not an alternative.

On the contrary, this is a time for Europe to discover its only true ally in the Middle East, the modern state of Israel, and learn from its long battle with radical Islam.

In the current migration debate it has been pointed out that we need to show Christian solidarity with the migrants who are fleeing the Middle East. In order for our continent to provide a safe haven for these, and other refugees, we need to make sure that Europe remains a Judeo-Christian continent and does not turn in to another Middle East.

Or, as Bret Stephens puts it in a recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal – A civilization that does not believe in anything will ultimately submit to anything. In his brilliant article he points to the moral lessons that we can learn from Israel, namely, that identity can be a great preserver of liberty, and that free societies cannot survive through progressive accommodation to barbarians.


UNESCO conference leaves Jerusalem untouched as delegates flee chaotic Istanbul

Istanbul – The annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO came to an abrupt and dramatic close on Saturday 16th July as an attempted military coup left Istanbul in complete chaos. The meeting, which was to consider a Palestinian-Jordanian resolution to declare the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem an Islamic site with no connection to Judaism or Christianity, will resume on 24th October in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

This was at the end of several weeks of hard work by ECI and other international organisations in presenting the historical and legal facts about Jerusalem to the members of the UNESCO World Heritage committee. In a letter to selected members of the Committee, ECI founding director Tomas Sandell brought to their attention the fact that the Temple Mount has been the most holy site in Judaism for several thousand years.
“There can be no denial of the over 3000-year connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem”, he wrote ahead of the expected vote in Istanbul.

In a separate statement made at meetings in New York during the week of the expected vote, renowned international law scholar and legal expert on Jerusalem, Dr Jacques Gauthier stated:

“The historical and religious connections between the Jewish people and the Holy Places of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, were part of the claims presented on behalf of the Jewish people to the Principal Allied Powers on February 27, 1919 during the Paris Peace Conference. The Great Powers recognised these historical claims at the San Remo Conference of April 25, 1920 resulting in legal entitlements. These rights were then incorporated in the provision of the Mandate for Palestine approved by the Council of the League of Nations in July, 1922. The Mandate treaty specifies that 'recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country'.  These rights are now protected under international law and under the provision of Article 80 of the Charter of the United Nations, Gauthier explained.

His conclusion is that ”the UNESCO resolution violates the fundamental rights granted to the Jewish people in respect to the Holy Places in Jerusalem.

ECI will continue to monitor the situation as the UNESCO World Heritage Committee prepares to resume its meeting in Paris on October 24. More information about the meeting will be given in due course.


ECI steps up its legal work as the Palestinian Authority plans to sue the UK over the Balfour Declaration

Brussels – After rejecting any connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last month, the Palestinian Authority now takes the international lawfare to another level by planning to sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration of 1917!

The Balfour Declaration, however, was not a legal document and hence cannot be subject to a lawsuit. The rights of the Jewish people to their national home in Israel were recognised in the San Remo resolution of 1920 and the Mandate for Palestine of 1922, which was unanimously adopted by the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations. These rights are preserved by Article 80 of the UN charter and denial of those rights would be inconsistent with the UN charter and international law.

It is perhaps symptomatic that the Palestinian Authority, while trying to secure international backing for a Palestinian state, is at the same time disputing any connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people and in this last twist of events, even objecting to the right of a Jewish homeland in Israel. This current campaign of international lawfare and the continuous incitement to violence and hatred (which is now officially recognised by the Quartet) is a far cry from the notion of ”two states for two people living side by side in peace.”

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is now coming back to these fundamental questions:
-  Do the Jewish people belong in Israel or are they simply intruders and trespassers?
-  Do the Jewish people have a right to their own state or are the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo resolution and the Mandate for Palestine all flawed?

The answers to these fundamental questions will define the future of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and therefore the legal work of ECI is now of utmost importance.

Through the work of ECI over the last ten years, starting with the 90th anniversary of the San Remo conference in April 2010, we have managed to present the legal foundations of the Jewish state to governments and parliaments around the world. This work has been done in close cooperation with the brilliant legal minds of international scholars such asJacques Gauthier and Cynthia Wallace as well as our own legal counsel AndrewTucker.

Since 2014 we have expanded on this work through the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy at the UN, in order to improve understanding of the many contributions of Israel and the Jewish people to the international community. Explaining the legal foundations of the modern state of Israel and its important role in the UN has also contributed to the recognition of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur as a new official UN holiday.  As a result of this work (and the excellent work of the Israeli Permanent Mission to the UN) Israel is today stronger at the UN than ever before.

But as the news stories of this month prove, the battle is not over. Please would you help us step up our legal work at the EU, UN and UNESCO by sending us a generous donationthis month? Thank you for your support and partnership.


Young Adults meet in national capitals for prayer and networking

Editors note: Each month we report about some of our most important activities and observations. But ECI is much more than a monthly report can contain. This month we have asked the ECI Young Adults Group to share about their activities:

Since 2012 a group of young adults from different European nations has taken part in the ECI Policy and Prayer conferences.  Most of the conferences included short meetings of young adults together with some of the ECI board.  The first larger ECI Young Adults Conference in The Hague was organised by ECI's legal advisor Andrew Tucker and several young adults in 2014.  The purpose was to learn about the legal foundations of the State of Israel and to equip the younger generation to stand more firmly with Israel.  One highlight of this conference was the visit to the Israeli Embassy, where as a delegation of young adults from all over Europe we could encourage Israel in its difficult situation.  At the end of the conference some of us started to pray about a special trip to Israel focused on geopolitical aspects, bringing goodwill as ambassadors from Europe to Israel.

In May 2015, directly after the Global Prayer Call, the first ECI geopolitical tour took place in Israel.  It was an encouraging experience for the participants as well as for the Israeli politicians, diplomats, activists and journalists whom the group met.  Approximately half of the 30 participants were young adults from different professional backgrounds and European nations.

After this geopolitical tour, a small representation of these young adults remained in touch through Skype.  This group includes people from France, Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany, studying or working in areas including Media/Communication, Politics, Theology, International Law and Technology/Business.  In prayer we felt it was important to meet up to pray and hear from the Lord together for our nations and continent.

Starting with our shared capital city in Brussels in October 2015, the following ten months will have seen meetings in each of our national capitals: Amsterdam (January), Berlin (April), Paris (June), Helsinki (July), and London on its way in August.  The meetings have included visits to some significant places in the capitals, for example a visit to the Israeli embassy in Paris, as well as gatherings with other young activists and intercessors for Israel from the nation.  This core team, based on true friendship and founded in prayer, is seeking to position itself ready for God’s future plans, allowing the DNA of ECI to manifest through prayer, education and advocacy.

One practical initiative that has begun during this period involves education.  As a team, we write comments on the weekly parasha (portion of the Torah) for the blog of Young Christians for Israel International: www.isreality.org.  We try to explain the parasha within a broader context of Israel and the nations, trying to make the Old Testament accessible for young adults during these times of global disorientation.

God is doing something new among the young generation in Europe.  It is hidden and small, but it begins with genuine love and fellowship across borders.  Built on a shared understanding of God’s people Israel and His promised land, we seek His blessing on our nations individually and together.  Greater things are yet to come!

For more information about the ECI Young Adults Group please contact us atinfo@ec4i.org

(Picture: ECI Young Adults group at the Israeli Embassy in Paris in June 2016)



ECI reiterates call for the EU to review its funding to the PA after 13 year old girl is stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorist

Brussels, July 1st, 2016 - The European Coalition for Israel (ECI) has reiterated its call for all European Union aid to the Palestinian Authority to be made conditional on the Palestinian Authority stopping all forms of incitement to violence after a 13 year girl was brutally stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist inside her bedroom. The murderer was immediately celebrated as a “martyr” on the official social media accounts of Fatah, the political party of the President of the Palestinian Authority.

In a letter addressed to Federica Mogherini (picture), the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the EU Commission and political leader of the European External Action Service (EEAS), on Friday, ECI reminded EEAS that the European Union is a union of values. “The EU cannot turn its head when a young girl is brutally stabbed to death in her own bed and the murderer is then declared a “martyr” by the Palestinian Authority, which is receiving hundreds of millions in aid from the European Union. The EU must stop funding the incitement and glorification of violence by the Palestinian Authority if the EU wants to be part of the solution to the conflict in the Middle East. By continuously turning a blind eye to a culture of violence and hatred, the EU will remain part of the problem,” stated ECI’s Founding Director Tomas Sandell.

The letter further states that  the EU cannot apply two sets of values ? one at home and another set of values for an administration that it supports financially and politically. Palestinian Authority’s President, Mahmoud Abbas, received a standing ovation in the European Parliament in Brussels last week, while the European leaders once more failed to make him accountable for the Palestinian Authority’s institutionalised and systematic glorification of terrorism, which includes payments to convicted terrorists and the naming of streets and schools after them, which also promotes radicalization.

ECI has repeatedly protested against these practices and earlier this year in May, together with the International Legal Forum and the French NGO ‘Tous Avec Nous’, met with the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service, to present a report which lists examples of institutionalised incitement and radicalisation by the Palestinian Authority, both from official PA channels and from the current PA curriculum in schools which demonises Jews and describes them as “invading snakes”.

The official EEAS position, as explained to us in the meeting, is that the glorification of martyrdom by the PA, the payment of convicted terrorists and the glorification of violence in school textbooks do not amount to “systematic” institutionalised incitement or radicalisation.

Just four days ago, an advisor to Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah Central Committee member, Sultan Abu Al-Einein, encouraged Palestinians: “every place you find an Israeli, cut off his head”.  This type of rhetoric is repeated constantly by the official Fatah political party, by WAFA, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, as well as by PBC, the PA’s official TV channel, in many of its children’s programmes. This incitement is responsible for the escalation of violence and the death of many innocent people, including the 13 year old girl Hallel Yaffa Ariel yesterday.
“There is a growing concern in the EU Member States about the PA’s misuse of EU taxpayers’ money to incite hatred and radicalisation, which can no longer be ignored,” stated ECI’s Legal Counsel, Andrew Tucker, who added that “incitement to violence and terror by leaders of states or recognized peoples contravenes fundamental principles of international law, as reflected in the UN Charter, and the European Union must ensure that those principles are upheld”.

ECI is committed to continuing to raise the issue of incitement in national Parliaments across Europe as well as in the European Union in Brussels.